Message from the President
Ever since its founding in 1950 as the country’s first institution of higher learning, Addis Ababa University has been committed to excellence and has contributed significantly to the overall development effort of the country. With the vision to be a pre-eminent African comprehensive research university, it has made the bold decision to place graduate programs and research at the heart of its strategic plan. It offers over 70 undergraduate and 225 graduate degree programs of which 69 are PhD and 20 are specialty certificate programs in the field of Medicine.The student population, which was only 71 at its establishment, has risen to over 51,500 at present. About 11,500 of these are graduate students.
The global climate in which universities operate is changing drastically. Universities’ roles in advancing national economic knowledge, innovative enterprises and international competitiveness are increasing. In line with this, Ethiopian higher education institutions are expected to be at the forefront actively playing their part to make meaningful contributions to development issues and the alleviation of poverty in the country.
In this regard, Addis Ababa University has been undergoing progressive institutional transformation in the past four years and significant achievements have been accomplished. But many feel that it has not been enough and many gaps and challenges still remain. This sends a strong message to our university community that we, together with our stakeholders, must work effectively and efficiently to educate and nurture our students, and to create knowledge and provide services for our immediate community and beyond.
Specifically, in the past eighteen months, we have accomplished major achievements that can pave the way for dramatic transformation in the core areas of teaching-learning, research and community service. We have made an assessment of the structural set up of the university and come up with and implemented an efficient and effective organizational set-up. In this process, offices of the vice presidents have been reorganized, management of graduate and undergraduate programs integrated, directorate offices under different vice presidents with similar mandates merged, management of student service and dean of student integrated, the six chief academic offices dissolved, all independent academic units reorganized under colleges, and research institutes reorganized to fulfill the purposes for which they are established. Based on the new organizational structure directors, deans, department heads have been assigned and this has reduced the number academic staff members holding academic administration positions by 50%. In addition, the redesigning of support processes with the aim of effecting improvement in cost, quality and speed in the provision of services has been finalized.
Aligning academic programs and research priorities with the government’s five-year Growth and Transformation Plan is critical to improving the livelihood of our communities. Our research profiles should include bringing together multidisciplinary teams from the industry, business and professional institutions in order to work on projects that enhance university-community partnerships. Extending research results into profitable markets and services through science parks and incubation centers are crucial to enhancing development efforts in the country. To this effect, we should always make a continuous assessment of our academic and research programs in order to develop and improve courses and programs for meeting the ever-changing demands of the country and for preparing students for high level professional requirements while at the same time promoting personal development. We should also be convinced that in the future, universities will be evaluated by the nature and quality of their international relationships. Currently, AAU is actively pursuing the establishment of a network of collaborative teaching and research partnerships with leading countries around the world.
Today, our Country and the community need us more than ever. This is a condition that places strong demands on us. To be able to respond to these demands successfully, we must fundamentally reinvent our institution. AAU is very fortunate to have outstanding staff, students, facilities and conducive location. Our future challenge is to build on this strong base so as to establish ourselves firmly among the world’s leading universities. I am confident that the enthusiasm and the strength of the University community will enable us to thrive in this ever-changing environment.